This post “Early Retirement = Fulltime Travel”, has been contributed by Chris and Steve of EatWalkLearn.com.
Sometimes your most fantastical plans get a bit delayed. This is a story of patience, adventure, and finding the right partner at the right time.
The Before Before
It was 1999, Chris was single, Steve was married. She had dreams to travel the world in 2005, he was raising a family. By 2005, she was married with a young baby, Steve was remarried. Chris’ plans to travel the world got delayed. Again. But in 2009, Chris and Steve met. Then married each other. And the plan to fulltime travel the world solidified into a 2021 goal.
Hi everyone, we’re Chris and Steve. Chris, 54, grew up in San Diego, and Steve, 61, grew up in Cleveland. Eventually, we both ended up in Florida, where we met in Tampa. We each worked in education sales, she for a major higher education textbook publisher, and he for a major K12 educational software publisher. In 2013, we both got promoted to jobs in Denver, where Chris retired in 2016, and Steve retires in just a few weeks (July 2021).
Chris’ story: I’ve always been a traveller and planner. Before I retired, I had already been to all 50 states and 55 countries. I’d always been a saver, too. At my first job right out of grad school with IBM, I immediately began socking away the maximum amount annually into my 401k. Right from the get-go, I had planned to retire early at 55. When a pending layoff arrived at 49, my CFP (Certified Financial Planner) said I was ready, and I jumped 100% into retirement life. My timing though, was off with the rest of my family. My daughter wouldn’t graduate high school until 2021, and Steve wouldn’t hit his magic retirement numbers until the same time.
So, I had to come up with something to do while they finished out their timelines.
While sitting on my couch in Denver shortly before my last day of work, I pulled out a Denver trails map. I got curious. Where did all the trails go? And why wasn’t there any information about them? Beyond brief summaries of the local trails, not one piece of information about trailheads, what to watch out for, highlights to see, or warnings to heed existed. So I started hiking and walking every day. I’d get home and write about what I found. I added my Denver tales to my existing blog, EatWalkLearn.com. Shortly afterward, when I realized I might be onto something with all my Denver content, I launched DenverByFoot.com.
The two websites have since spawned four books. In the hiking capitol of the west, people wanted to know about hikes in Denver! My little publishing empire kept me quite content for five years until Steve and our daughter were ready for our next journey. It also produced a bit of income, which more than compensated for my earlier-than-expected retirement.
Steve’s story: I’ve always loved to travel but never really thought about it as a full-time lifestyle. Busy raising a family and running my own training business, I thought I’d have a typical retirement somewhere in Florida. When Chris and I met, I quickly envisioned a different life and a path to get there.
On our first date, Chris enthused about a fulltime travelling life and even a possible timeline to make it happen. By the time we married two years later on a glacier in Alaska, I knew our future life would be one of adventure and intrigue. Now with just a few weeks left until I retire, I can’t wait to start our nomad life together.
Admittedly, leaving a successful career and moving from a life of saving to a life of spending makes me a bit anxious. But knowing that I’ve calculated my retirement funds into a comfortable lifestyle gives me relief. I’ve also begun dabbling in Forex, and I’m excited to share my successes (and a few oops moments) with you at our newly redesigned blog, EatWalkLearn…and Earn!
Our Fantastical Adventure Begins
After a road trip through the US in July to see family members, we launch “officially” into our nomad life in August. Our daughter got accepted to Trinity College in Dublin, so we’ll scoot to Dublin to drop her off. From there, it’s just our two carry-on suitcases, two backpacks and us. We’ll travel the world, chasing 72⁰F / 22⁰C, and balancing our “homes” between housesitting, Airbnb-ing, and hotels. We’ll supplement our budget via travel hacking.
We decided to domicile in Texas, and we’ll complete that process in just a couple of weeks. The logistics behind this i.e. changing mailing addresses, getting bills sent to the Texas address while we’re still in Denver selling our house, having the right documents for the Texas DMV, registering our car in Texas with new insurance, etc., have been the hardest part of the whole process. Thinking about our housesits and Airbnb’s outside of the US feels like the easiest part.
And, the big elephant in the room…medical insurance…might be the other hard part. Although we haven’t made a final decision yet on the provider we’ll choose, we will insure ourselves through a global medical provider like GeoBlue. This monthly cost of about US$500 for both of us will cover our medical needs throughout the world.
Life Beyond the U.S.
You CAN Do This
Collectively, we own about 60 things, including toothbrushes, underwear, and hats. It hasn’t been easy to slim down to two suitcases, and we certainly acknowledge all of our friends who say, “We could never do that.” But, honestly, you can. If we can do it, you can too. Build a plan, work toward it, and soon, you too, can be home-free with a passport filled with stamps….even if it does take 22 years to get there.
LIFE CHAPTER 2: RELATED BLOG POSTS
Do you want to read more inspirational stories of those that have made a lifestyle change in their midlife? Check out all the stories in our Life Chapter 2 series below and be inspired.